This article originally appeared in Pyramid #11


Compiled by Sean "Dr. Kromm" Punch

Q: Are you going to reprint GURPS Fantasy Folk and GURPS Fantasy Bestiary? If so, when?

A. Fantasy Folk will definitely be reprinted. So will Fantasy Bestiary. Maybe a long time from now. Those were both on the list to deal with after we either do a GURPS Fourth Edition, or decide a Fourth Edition isn't needed. But we've been getting a lot of requests for Fantasy Folk and, who knows, we might reprint it earlier than that. — SJ

Q: When the rules say that PK at a certain power can lift a certain weight, does it really mean "weight" or does it mean "mass"? Think of the difference it would make in orbit! — Chris Skaggs

A: According to GURPS Psionics, p. 19, lifting power is rated in terms of mass: "Your PK power controls the mass you can move mentally." The rules are deceptive, mostly because GURPS (erroneously) uses units of weight — pounds — when units of mass are called for. — Kromm

SJ adds: Kromm's absolutely right . . . but in the real world, Kromm is a physicist. Most of the rest of us, myself included, would rather not deal with units of mass . . . therefore, the simplification.

Q: Does the Running skill affect Dodge? Your place in the combat sequence? Move?

A: Running only affects your ground Move score! One-eighth of Running is added to Basic Speed for the purpose of determining Move, but not for any other purpose. Specifically, Running has no effect at all on your Dodge score or your place in the combat sequence. — Kromm

Q: In Martial Arts, Wrestling is P/A and defaults to DX or ST, in Imperial Rome it is P/A but defaults to DX-5 or ST-5 and in Arabian Nights it is P/E with DX-5 and ST-5 defaults. The skill description in Imperial Rome and Arabian Nights is the same, which is slightly more detailed than the one in Martial Arts. What is Wrestling supposed to be? — Sean A. Wadey

A: Wrestling, like Boxing, Brawling, Judo and Karate, has no default. It is a P/A skill. GURPS Martial Arts lists "DX or ST" because a character uses those stats in Close Combat when Grappling and so on. However, you have no default to the actual Wrestling skill. Only people who buy the Wrestling skill get the (skill/8) ST bonus in Close Combat and access to the special maneuvers that default from it. — Kromm

Q:With (the Supers power) Invulnerability to Magic, are you totally invulnerable or can you end up "sawing logs" due to a sleep spell? — Tel Parrett

A: If a character possesses Supers-style Invulnerability towards Magic, it grants total invulnerability to all of the effects (damaging, non-damaging and even beneficial) of any form of magic (spells, alchemical elixirs, Vampiric Charm, etc.). This power is worth 100 points in a Supers game because magic is only an "Occasional" threat. Magic is "Common" in most fantasy campaigns, and Invulnerability to it should cost 150 points. Likewise, it should cost less in a "realistic" game where magic is "Rare" if not "Very Rare." — Kromm

Q: What is the DR of 1 point of DF in GURPS Space? How many dice of damage does 1 point of FP from Space translate into?

A: Defense Factor (DF) is an overall defensive rating that takes into account passive and active defenses as well as tactical and situational modifiers. It really only has meaning under the Mass Combat system. Moreover, even if you only consider "physical" DF, the mass of DF goes up by powers of two, while the mass of DR for smaller vehicles is a linear function of DR (see GURPS Vehicles). So DF simply does not correspond to the same kind of thing as DR. As a rule of thumb, assume that even DF 1 provides enough DR to stop the standard hand weapons of the same TL as the ship.

Firepower (FP) is the same kind of thing. It is an abstraction, in this case of offensive capability. By comparing the weapons in Space to those in Vehicles, one can immediately see that FP does not correspond to dice of damage or rate of fire. FP takes into account many other factors besides these. To rate Space weapons in dice of damage, look up a weapon of equivalent TL, mass and volume in Vehicles and use the stats there.

Both dice of damage and DR are "human scale" quantities in GURPS, while DF and FP are "large unit scale" quantities. The two do not mix well in real life or in GURPS. At a given TL, anything tough enough to rate DF probably cannot be scratched by a human; anything deadly enough to rate FP can probably zorch a human in even the heaviest combat armor. —Kromm

Q: Would you please clarify the rules for reaction drives on pages 82 and 83 of GURPS Space? These drives seem to be ridiculously heavy, expensive and inefficient, which is discouraging for those who would like to run "realistic" space games without reactionless drives. Why is this so?

A: I checked the math and it all works out. The drives in GURPS Space are quite reasonable, and the rules are totally consistent. — Kromm

SJ adds: The rules were meant to be realistic . . . reaction drives really are that heavy, inexpensive and inefficient. An Atlas rocket is 94% fuel . . . Someone who wants reaction drives to be more efficient had better either invent some new laws of physics, or fake them. If a GM just wants to quadruple their efficiency for his game, well, it's his game.

Article publication date: January 1, 1995

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